Fit for Travel in 2015


On New Year’s Eve, one of my Zumba instructors asked me when I was going to write a blog post about Zumba. My first thought was, “I do a travel blog, not an exercise blog” and my second thought was, “Why not?” I’ve attended Zumba classes while traveling in northern Wisconsin; St Louis, Missouri; Sarasota, Florida; on a cruise ship in the Caribbean; and even in Krakow, Poland where the instructor didn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Polish but we both spoke Zumba which was good enough. It’s obviously travel-related for me. So, Brenda, this one’s for you.

When I’m at home, I go to Brenda’s class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and to Nikki’s class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It’s a fun way to get fit by dancing. You can go at your own pace and once you know the basic steps, you can go anywhere and feel comfortable joining the class.

Zumba with Brenda

Zumba with Brenda

Zumba Love

Zumba Love with Brenda

I’ve found Zumba classes all over the world while traveling, and if you want to find one near you, check out The one below was in O’Fallon, Missouri at the YMCA.

Zumba at O'fallon Family YMCA, O'Fallon, MO

Zumba at O’fallon Family YMCA, O’Fallon, MO

When not going to Zumba, I still try to stay active wherever I go. There are lots of opportunities to move your body that enhance the travel experience and don’t feel like “working out.” So here are just a few suggestions I’d like to share.

First of all, we walk–a lot–wherever we travel. If a point of interest is within walking distance, we walk rather than ride. I admit it’s probably more about my budget travel goals than getting exercise but it’s also a healthier option. And sometimes you can’t get there unless you hike, like we did in Krakow, Poland. Michael took us to see Kościuszko Mound which involved a long hike through a forest and then when we got there we still had to climb the mound. But the view was totally worth it.

Krakow, Poland

Hiking in Krakow, Poland

Kościuszko Mound, Krakow, Poland

The trail circles the mound with no railings until you reach the summit at Kościuszko Mound, Krakow, Poland

Kościuszko Mound, Krakow, Poland

View from the summit of Kościuszko Mound, Karakow, Poland, April, 2011

Closer to home, you may recall my post from July 15, 2014 about the hike my husband and I took around Devil’s Tower, Wyoming or the July 22, 2014 post about hiking part of the Spokane River Centennial Trail with my girlfriends. If you don’t remember, that’s a shameless plug to check them out.

Devil's Tower, WY

Devil’s Tower, WY

Spokane River Centennial Trail

My friends hiking the Spokane River Centennial Trail, 2014

Another option is to ride a bike. Bike rentals are often inexpensive and add an experiential dimension to any trip. We rented bikes on several occasions in Belgrade, Serbia and Lucca, Italy which got us farther than we could have gone by walking but still enabled us to enjoy our surroundings at a leisurely pace.

Belgrade, Serbia

Biking to Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 2010

Biking the ramparts in Lucca, Italy, 2013

Biking the ramparts in Lucca, Italy, 2013

Even hitting the links or the pool is fun, especially when entertaining children. Of course, you can’t take your golf game too seriously with children, which I think is a good thing.

Golfing at Winghaven Country Club, O'Fallon, MO

Golfing in Missouri

Pool at Winghaven Country Club, O'Fallon, MO

Pool Time

If you’re more adventurous, try snorkeling. Most rentals will give you instructions but it’s pretty easy especially if you’re near the shore and can stand up if you start to feel uncertain. It’s such a great way to enjoy tropical marine life in the Caribbean. The coral and the colorful, iridescent tropical fish look amazing when viewed from underwater.

Snorkeling in the Caribbean

Snorkeling in the Caribbean

Snorkeling in the Caribbean

Snorkeling in the Caribbean

Still more water options include kayaking and paddle boarding, both of which are much easier than you may think.

Kayaking in Isla Mujeres

Kayaking at Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Paddle boarding in Florida

Paddle boarding in Florida

Cruise ships are notorious for weight gain among their passengers so to counteract this threat, I make an effort to do something active every day. We always explore the fitness center as soon as we board the ship so that we know what is available and where to go to find it. On every ship we’ve had weight machines, free weights, treadmills, and elliptical machines in the fitness center. They also offer classes that may include pilates, crossfit, Latin dancing, stretching, abdominal work outs and more. Some of the classes charge a fee, however.

Fitness Room on the Norwegian Star

Fitness Room on the Norwegian Star

We also like to play a little shuffleboard which probably doesn’t burn a lot of calories but at least we’re moving. Notice the walkers behind our friends on this deck, too.

Shuffle board

Shuffle board

Our last cruise on the Norwegian Star had a water slide and I even had a turn at that just for the fun of it.

Water slide on the Norwegian Star

Water slide on the Norwegian Star

There are really so many fun ways that support fitness while traveling that it’s not difficult to find something you’ll enjoy. If you really dislike any form of exercise, however, here’s a suggestion. I received a Fitbit Flex as a Christmas gift and it tracks every step you take, syncs with your computer, iPad or smart phone, and shows you the results. Health experts tell us we need to take 10,000 steps a day. With this on your wrist, you’ll see how many steps you’re taking all day long and find out whether you need to do a little more. I love it and you may, too.

Fitbit Flex

Fitbit Flex

Do you make any New Year’s resolutions? I usually try to think of a few ways to improve my health and fitness but not commit to anything that will likely result in failure. This year I’m resolving to take 10,000 steps each day. Fortunately, the Fitbit tells me that one hour of Zumba racks up over half of those steps each day and burns 300-500 calories.

Yes, that's me in the headband at a Zumba Pretty in Pink fundraiser against breast cancer

Yes, that’s me in the headband at a Zumba Pretty in Pink fundraiser against breast cancer



Brenda between my friend and sweaty me (post workout)

“Ditch the Workout, Join the Party” as the Zumba slogan goes. I’ll look for you there!

Share how you stay fit while traveling and/or your fitness goals for 2015 in comments.

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8 thoughts on “Fit for Travel in 2015

  1. Deb W.

    You go girl. I resolve to do better.

  2. I like that. Just better is good for all of us.

  3. Anonymous

    Zumba in Poland. Sigh.

  4. You left out how awesome you are at shaking, wiggling and having a blast. Thank you for blogging about Zumba! It is an amazing and fun workout, and the cherry on top is truly the relationships you form into a forever family. Thank you for being a part of my Zumba journey and may you go to the ends of the earth and dance! Bessos

  5. Yes, I agree, Brenda. Friends are every bit as important to good health as any workout. Bessos back at you!

  6. We always try and hike/walk a lot on holidays as well as rent a bike on every trip. Zumba sounds like a lot of fun though – never tried it but you’ve inspired me!!

  7. Love this post! Staying fit and healthy is so important so we can enjoy the things we love all the more.

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